We wanted to go to Salta for three reasons: 1) mountain biking, 2) whitewater kayaking and 3) to meet an American blogger friend and her family. We quickly found out reasons #1 and #2 weren’t going to happen. The guy who ran the mountain bike company was on “vacation” until the following week, and the whitewater company didn’t have the minimum number of people to run a trip that weekend. C’est la vie, so much for pre-planning.
Reason #3 actually did work out, and to be honest spending time with them was the best part of Salta. I feel like a broken record saying that the people are the best part of this trip, but its the truth. After spending two nights with them, it was like living at home. We laughed, we stayed up late, we drank a lot of wine, and we shared yerba mate, so when they suggested hiking in Purmamarca we agreed.
The desert landscape of Purmamarca, red and orange like the American Southwest was an incredible place. Wind swept canyons and peaks, the landscape was rough and yet graceful at the same time. The clay like soil morphed into interesting formations after the rains, hardened and left us with little caves and crevices to explore. In scale it was nothing like the American southwest, and while the colors reminded me of the Grand Canyon and the landscape was beautiful it wasn’t as breathtaking as the Grand Canyon.
Watching the daughter of our couchsurfing host climb up and down the clay formations, I was struck with how inspirational travel itself can be. A travel blogging family, Leigh, Noah and Lila have been traveling for about three years. They’re not backpacking, they’re living in places like Panama and France for a few months at a time, going to school and working. Along the way they’ve made opportunities for themselves and made projects and dreams come to life in a very concrete, very successful way, which is inspirational to me on many levels. Their success in taking control and making their life what they want it to be is what I find to be the most incredible.
They may not have all the answers (who does), but the fact that they’ve achieved the success they have makes me feel energized. I’m not sure exactly what our ultimate goal is with this trip. Lots of people ask if we’re going to write a book, but I don’t think any book can ever adequately describe our travel experience. Maybe our ultimate goal is just to be like Leigh, Noah and Lila, to provide inspiration to others that they can do something off the “normal” path and find their own success.